By David E. Sharp
When I naively embarked on a quest to write and publish my first novel, I felt like I was climbing a mountain. Every step took me closer to the summit. Sometimes it seemed within reach. Other times I couldn’t see it, and I questioned whether it was really up there. But I persevered, and I braced myself for the view.
It wasn’t what I expected. Mostly what I saw was more climbing. I don’t really see writing and publishing as a mountain anymore. It’s more like a series of hills with ascents and descents and lots of ground to explore in the middle. There have been steep learning curves in designing a website, marketing myself, and coming to terms with the idea that I am expected to have a brand. I’ve participated in events with other writers and creatives and writing the next thing.
The most recent dip was learning that my publisher, a small press, had sold its imprint to another publisher based in the U.K. I could continue with the new imprint, but I wanted to try a different direction. With support from my critique group and the community of writers, I set off once again to find a publishing home for my book.
I am now under contract with a promising publisher with a new release date for July of 2021. Having gained a better perspective, I can now say publishers are different from one another as people are. It shouldn’t be surprising, and yet I found myself surprised. Just like personal relationships, publishing relationships are all about finding the right fit.
Now I have undergone new tasks to dress up my manuscript for its upcoming unveiling. I have studied up on new promotional methods and better practices for maintaining a novel’s career. I had tweaked some of the text since I’m now a better writer than when I first published it.
Writing practice has a way of doing that.
I am delighted to find my writing continues to open new doors and take me on new journeys. And I realize I never would have been happy with a summit if I found one. I would have missed the climb. I would never have made it this far if I hadn’t loved it. (I’m not saying I didn’t throw my share of author tantrums, but even so.) It is a comfort that I can still revisit my older works and spend some time with them again.
Maybe you feel like you’ve been climbing a mountain too. Perhaps you feel like you’ll never reach the top. If so, don’t be discouraged. You’ll miss this part of the journey once it’s gone, so savor it. And you know that once you’ve closed the book on one project, that pen is going to be calling to you for the next one. Maybe forget about summits for a while and just go exploring.